Insights into the global epidemiology, virulence, and antibiotic resistance of Acinetobacter baumannii

Global Epidemiology

The role of A. baumannii as a pathogenic organism has been gradually increasing since the 1970s, mainly as a nosocomial pathogen causing a wide range of hospital-acquired infections. Occasionally, A. baumannii can be involved in community acquired infections, including pneumonia and bacteraemia.

Two key factors contributing to the outstanding dissemination of A. baumannii in hospitals are related to its ability to resist antibiotics and to tolerate desiccation for long periods.

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Antibiotic Resistance

The rise in the number of infections caused by A. baumannii isolates that show antibiotic-resistance (AR) to several, if not all, antibiotics represents the menace of the 21st century. These infections are associated with high morbidity and mortality, especially in healthcare settings. Strict measures in prevention and control should be taken. In the present situation, the World Health Organization denounces that “the success of modern medicine in treating infections, including during major surgery and cancer chemotherapy, would be at increased risk”.

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In addition to antibiotic resistance, A. baumannii has several potential virulence traits that allow this bacterium to persist in the environment, capture micronutrients, adhere to biotic surfaces, sense the quorum, twitch, invade host cells and escape from the human host immune system.

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